tv [untitled] June 23, 2011 12:30am-1:00am PDT
if you look at this particular table here, i'm looking at san francisco. you will notice our agency, adjusted for inflation has less resources today in terms of dollars and sense than it did in 1986. most of us would agree that the world as much more complex than id was in 1986. next, there is a 10-year analysis of fte or staffing starting in the year of 2001 and taking it all the way through 2011-2012. you can see our staffing levels today are the lowest they have been in decades. numbers in the red bars are those suggested by the mayor's office. if we follow the numbers suggested by the budget analyst, we would go down to 238 as
opposed to 240. that's from a height of to hundred 70 to 10 years ago. next is a table that shows a workload by the various parties that work in the criminal justice system. this comes from the board management system. you can see the number of appearances each of the various entities makes, the district attorney, the public defender, a public bar and the defense. you can tell the district attorney by far has the largest workload. part of the reason is we have to appear in every case and we do not have the benefit of other parties appearing on our behalf. you can see our workload is considerably larger.
here are some of the other areas we are working on. these are issues we have to deal with and one of them is a homicide backlog. if you look at our homicide backlog, 50% of our cases are two years or older. this is a question of justice delayed is justice denied. i'm stealing hear from our public defenders work, but i agree with him. the cases do not get better with time. when we have homicide cases that are 4 years old or older, it creates a tremendous problem not only for the district attorney but for the public defense as well. it is a question of justice. this is an area we are trying to address.
it costs approximately $50,000 to keep someone in our county jail. this is an area we would like to move a foreword and try to reduce that number. the current staffing levels here, you will have cases aging and it will impact successful prosecutions. you heard our public defender talk about this -- this is a whole issue of compliance and dealing with the cases that may have had some irregularities. this is an area where we reviewed 4800 cases and responded to 425 motions.
one single case took one attorney a year to get the most work -- on not going to read this, you can see it. looking at fiscal year 2011- 2012, we are looking at 53 defense inquiries and the workload continues. we are looking at 350 files concerning the latest hotel cases as well as cases that are as old as two decades ago. some of the things we said for ourselves -- as we try to look at our budgeting process and how we handle our office, how do we handle becoming more effective with the way we handle our prosecutions? one goal is to reduce low-level crimes and do so in a way that actually improves our efficiency. we have created neighborhood
courts. this is an initiative designed to create greater community involvement to take out of our court room. we have criminalize many of those cases and create bed space for the court system to be able to handle the case in a more appropriate manner. we are assigning neighborhood prosecutors to the station. we have volunteer arbitrators trained to hear cases. that is as a result of this work -- there is no line -- providing services for offenders when appropriate. if you look at our five-year outlook, pressures will be coming from the passage of ab109. a lot of work traditionally done
at the state level will come to the local level. the good news is we have been working as a county. all the partners have been working for quite some time dealing with reentry issues. nevertheless, there is work coming our way and it has to do primarily with the parole in cases that do not involve violence. it looks like they will still come up to our local courts and yet to the district attorney's office. that is a workload that is not anticipated and we do not believe understand what the impact will be. obviously, our current budget does not entertain the impact the realignment may have on our criminal justice system at the local level. continuing to look at the five- year outlook -- we are trying to take cases away from our traditional courts into our neighborhood corp. program. we estimate taking this case to
our neighborhood courts will cost about $300 to $400 a case as opposed to $1,500 for the traditional process. we are completing a department wide assessment to find a way to find a department to work more efficiently without additional resources. we are also looking to pursue additional funding from other sources. we continue to formalize and expand our volunteer program and order to make up for the deficiencies we currently have. i would like to move over to the budget analyst recommendations. we mostly agree, however, we have a couple of disagreements here. first, starting with the request for a position for neighboring courts. we believe this is an initiative that should be funded. we believe is an investment in the future development of our criminal justice system and we would like to have that funded.
also, concerning the integrity and brady compliance, we agree with the budget analysts and we will restrict ourselves to his recommendations. however, we would like to see that particular reduction be reflected as step one. it is currently reflected a step 16. this is a step one decision. the third area has to do with our grant process for community courts. this is a $75,000 that would go to a community-based organization to support labor accords. we would like to see that continue to be funded. -- support neighborhood courts. the funding coming as a result of a 10-year-old lawsuit that we anticipate now may be funded this year from the state is $1
million and we agree of that money comes in should be accorded to the general fund. supervisor chu: thank you very much. supervisor wiener: in terms of the neighborhood court, i just one -- to my colleagues and a budget analyst, just to stress how important a program this is. i'm just making the point i want to make sure with respect to the neighborhood courts, the pilot or first station where this is being piloted his mission state -- mission station that covers a significant portion of my district. supervisor campos and i are extremely supportive of this
program and or with the district attorney when it was kicked off. one of the problems we have in my district is a lot of so- called quality of life crimes where there are not significant enough to warrant a big investment in terms of going through the criminal justice system, so we have a choice of either spending a lot of time and money going through the hall of justice or just dropping them. it is a huge restoration to my constituents where these kinds of lower-level crimes, people are not held accountable in any way for them. it is one of the greatest frustrations for a lot of my constituents. the neighborhood courts are a terrific and creative way to address that. i'm very supportive of that and i just wanted to put that out there and give that context. one other thing -- i guess we have come to agreement on the
brady issues. when i was in the city attorney's office and would work with the da's office on habeas issues, that might lead to civil litigation later. i was astounded by how much work one single district attorney was suspected to do -- was expected to do. yet a private firm with six or eight lawyers bringing a habeas petition, my office would be staffed with two or three attorneys because these were massive cases and there would be one assistant d.a. with almost no staff support expected to defend that conviction and potentially let someone convicted of murder be released. i defer to your judgment on what resources you think you need, but it has been my experience that the district attorney's office is woefully understaffed in many ways and i think it is a
structural issue that we ultimately need to address because i think it is a problem. >> one of the things i forgot to say is our attorneys do not get over time. i think we both have the same issue. supervisor chu: thank you. we will go to the budget analyst report. >> madam chair and members of the committee. our recommended deductions are detailed and page 55 to 57. that is 100% general fund reductions. $490,000 is on going that would allow an increase of 2.4% in the department's budget. we are also recommending onetime
general fund revenues -- this is the same recommendation the committee considered in this city attorney's office and anticipated to be received by the city attorney's office and can and should be credited to the general fund. we will work with the district attorney in the ensuing week and consider your comments and report back to the committee next week. supervisor chu: if there are no other comments -- supervisor chiu: one of the things that was interesting to me about the proposed budget but we have is that the metrics used to describe the indicator for your office as opposed to the public defender's office are different. i was wondering if you are able to compare apples to apples of case lives on a felony level or
misdemeanor level -- i think there's a lot of confusion among our colleagues about exactly whether the staff in your office has, how that compares to other offices around the bay and with your counterpart. >> i think you are well aware the was a comparison done about year-and-a-half ago. what we did this time around is try to have numbers that came from the case management system as opposed to the numbers we create or anybody else. if we go through -- if we go to our table -- the this says court appearance -- court appearances by attorneys. we decided that libyan apples to apples comparison across the board. -- we decided that would be an apples to apples comparison across the board. our attorneys and attorneys involved other offices, a public
defender or private defense, you can see by far we are handling the largest number of cases. we have to go to every single case. we do not share our workload with everyone else. we are appearing even in 2010 and 2011, approximately 170,000 appearances. you can see the bar is representing the other parties involved are significantly less. on our misdemeanor workload, our attorneys are handling twice the workload others are handling. we have a significant, quite frankly a backbreaking workload. it is not unusual for an inner- city district attorney to handle these cases. we have a rotation that has come to the point where we have so few people to work with that we are having problems of people --
would people call in sick or go on vacation. we are trying to juggle and of refusing vacation time because of the workload to keep our courts open. supervisor chiu: i remember that caseload and it was and tense. we implemented a road map for the city and although i did not see what the office -- what the d.a. office has planned, there are roomfuls of paper files all over the d.a.'s office. can you talk about the plans to modernize record-keeping and files in cases? >> we are doing several things. upon my appointment to the office, we put together several workgroups. one of them is a technology. the report comes from the work groups being finalized. we're going to take that and try
to move forward with that report and provide better assessment to what our technological needs are. this month, by the end of this summer, we are taking all of our cases and cataloguing it. today, we do not have the catalog system for our case file. you'll have to actually send an e-mail case to a particular file. we will have to bar code all our case files. we hope to either use intern's or volunteer work as far as scanning into an electronic database. that is not technology advancement, just trying to create a flat level we can start from. we are woefully technologically
incumbent. >> that is something the office was talking about years ago. i'm glad we're starting to move in that direction. >> we are trying to get all the files into one place and get a catalog. supervisor mirkarimi: good afternoon, mr. district attorney. i was looking at department revenues. what are the revenue sources? >> we have funding that comes from rent, areas where we lost several grants at the state and federal level. there have been budget reductions at the state and federal level. those reductions have impacted our office and if you like a more specific breakdown, i can have the budget director speak to those. >> that is something you can follow up with me on, that would be great.
with regard to the white collar -- with a white-collar crime unit and restitution recovery, i was not seeing in data along those lines. -- was not seen any data along those lines. would we be adding into the funds based on restitution? >> i want to say before he gives the details, it is important to recognize as a prosecutorial agency, we have an ethical and legal obligation to ensure we're not prosecuting cases for the purposes of revenue gathering or income generation. we have to be careful our prosecutorial decisions are based on sound legal analysis and not being promoted by income-generated motivations. -- in come-generating
motivations. >> basically, the white collar crime you are referring to, the civil cases, the million dollars is an example that was discussed as a recovery for that type of situation. the first obligation is to get restitution for the victims of the crime. after that, if there is any civil penalties or recoveries, those come into the city. supervisor mirkarimi: in the last several years, has there been any significant cases? >> there have been significant cases. there has been a steady stream. i do not have the exact number before me. we can get you that information. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you. i'm wondering mr. d a, your predecessor made a point of
reentry part of the administration. one program was back on track. i did not see too much information so i was just wondering if you would like to speak to that? >> we are fully committed to back on track. we're looking at a much broader base assessment of not only reentry but getting more sophisticated about the way we offer pleased to the defense side to come up with a different type of outcome. one of the things we're doing is we are working with the department to make different approaches in the way we handle our cases. our goal was twofold -- first to race -- to facilitate reentry to those cases of becoming a for realignment are back into our community. the second goal is to reduce the number of people we sent to jail or state prison.
the overarching go is to reduce recidivism. -- the overarching goal is to reduce recidivism. it is a program that has had great success and we believe we can start taking risks here. offenders, trying to put an end to the program and trying to test. we are looking at our collaborative courts and exploring the possibility of taking cases that would normally go through our regular criminal court systems and start moving them into collaborative courts. we are exploring the possibility that individuals involved in midlevel property crimes or drug crimes may have a mental illness problem -- rather than taking them to the regular criminal processes, sending them to behavioral courts were one of the collaborative courts. we recently looked at an analysis of the counties and
citizens of san francisco. in comparison to other counties in the state, one of the things we are seeing is that we are doing the right thing. that process has continued. we have been able to lower crime and reduce the number of arrests and we are a model for the state in crime reduction at the same time -- if anybody has a bone in their park -- anybody has a phone in their pocket near the microphone -- if you actually look at what has been going on in the city and county of san francisco. we have lower crime at a higher
level than most other counties in the state at the same time have lower incarceration. that has been the result of hard work by lot of people in the criminal justice system. my goal is to continue to get more sophisticated and look more into things like community-based supervision as opposed to incarceration with an eye toward a reduction in recidivism. we have a horrible recidivism rate in entomb be sure we do better. >> this is important, but that changes the whole structure of what it means to have convictions, which is an important statistic to prosecution. if you are able to divert and divert successfully, that changes the whole decision about how effective it is to be a d.a. and what convictions mean
against prosecution. >> i think the metrics are outdated and no longer have relevance. i'm not so sure the number of conditions we have necessarily is an indicator of good performance. i think the indicator of good performances how do we reduce crime and make our communities safer? how do we reduce recidivism in our community? if we can do that as a partner in a larger criminal justice system than we have been successful. running a da's office is not about successful prosecutions are sending people to prison. we already know that has not worked. one of the reasons we have to deal with realignment is because the entire prison system has been over burden to the point where we cannot afford economically. i would argue that socially, we have created an unsustainable program and it has been unsustainable for many years.
we have over incarcerated members of minority communities in this country to the point where we have destroyed entire communities. san francisco is no difference to anybody else. the metrics of using convictions as an indicator of success are not necessarily metrics i would subscribe to. supervisor mirkarimi: thank you. supervisor kim: how many of your fte's are attorneys? >> 125. supervisor kim: thank you for the graph and your answer to the question -- i noticed there was a different in the budget between public defenders and the district attorney and sustained court opinion was helpful in understanding that. the movement toward restorative justice is something i have life-support.
i would love to see explored in juvenile justice. i know it is often talked about in juvenile justice and the staff and judge their have talked about it but it would be great to see a specific program around that because it has been so successful in other places and in other states. new zealand is the country we often talk about with restorative justice, but they are able to close their detention centers except for one. being able to move for that is important. i wanted to ask a couple of questions about your neighborhood court program. you talk about your vision for it. you might have said this -- what neighborhoods are being considered for the neighborhood courts? >> the goal is to have the entire city covered within 18
months. currently, we have the bayview station and we are talking to supervisor chu about adding the corridor in central station which would be only for prosecution. we took it from our existing rotation. we hope to get -- we hope we will get another station and we will continue to play with the model. they are the supervisor for the neighborhood court. one of the advantages of the neighborhood court is at the time the officer makes the rest to the time they are in front of the panel is to weeks. we see a turnaround time in about seven days. it's a quick process that brings
together the community and the offender and the victim and there are no attorneys present. we already see great results. the other function is to work with the community and the police department. it is like community policing, bringing the officers into the local labor had to deal with a variety of issues. it could be a bad business practice. it could be neighbors having problem with another neighbor or a problem with schools and residents. we are taking our victim advocates and we will start deploying them into a neighborhood centers. a lot of our victims are unlikely to come to the hall of justice or services. one of the functions we have statutory as well as prosecuting suspects and doing other thing s